Club: Swansea City
Position(s): CB, LCB
Preferred Foot: Right
Strengths: physicality, athleticism, passing, ball-carrying
Development Areas: ball-carrying when he’s defending the last man, experience
At 21 years of age, Nathan Wood has emerged as a vital cog in defense for Swansea and is the epitome of the modern-day ball-carrying CB. He’s very composed on the ball & even when pressed by the opposition he calmly dribbles past them to give him time & space to pass. His broad frame makes him a beast when carrying the ball forward brushing opponents away from him.
He has great passing range, the young CB loves to ping long-passing to advancing teammates and tends to nick the ball off attackers and then play long balls or carry the ball to recycle attacks. Both his passing & ball-carrying stats back up that he’s very skilled in these areas. Swansea tend to play possession-based football and having 91.5% pass completion is a great indicator that he’s very comfortable on the ball.
Sometimes he carries the ball forward in high-risk situations where there’s a pressing opponents like he’s the last man. In those situations, it’s best to pick out the safe pass or pass back to the keeper, but he’ll improve on this with experience. Swansea play either a 5 at the back with Wood playing as a CCB of 3 CBs or a 4 at the back with him being deployed as the LCB. So despite being right-footed, he’s comfortable on the left side too.
One of his main strengths is his physicality. His broad frame & athleticism makes him physically dominant. His speed makes him ideal for a defence playing a high line whilst also possessing the strength to win aerial & ground duels. Wood’s concentration gives him a good understanding of the game for his age as he reads tackles, interceptions & blocks well. He’ll develop this over time so the timing of his next move is key, but it’s best for him to stay at Swansea for one more year or to go somewhere that he’ll start.
He’s a top prospect & would be a great long-term option for a lot of possession-based teams such as Brighton as a replacement for Chelsea loanee Levi Colwill or a replacement for the departing captain Pontus Jansson at Brentford. At 21 years old, it’s only a matter of time before Nathan Wood will be playing Premier League football.
By: Ben Mattinson / @Ben_Mattinson_
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Isaac Parkin – PA Images